Spring into action
By: Megan Elias
Spring is one of my favorite seasons. We’ve all heard that proverbial phrase April showers bring May flowers but something we may forget is spring can bring some potential hazards for our furry friends. It is important as pet O’s to know what those hazards are and how to prevent them. Some of those hazards include leptospirosis, plant toxicity and slug/snail bait.
Leptospirosis sounds pretty scary and it can affect people as well as dogs. It is an organism that can be picked up by the ingestion of stagnate water that an infected animal has urinated in. Life stock and wild life are the most common carriers of the bacteria. In an article Written by Wendy Brooks DVM she states “Leptospira interrogates sensu lato [leptospirosis] has been sub-classified into smaller related groups called serovars. Over 250 serovars have been named and at least 10 are important for pets.” (https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/). Despite the number of serovars, there are things you can do to prevent infection.
Those April showers bring stagnate water so one of the easiest ways to thwart the contagion is to steer clear of puddles and be cautious about what you let your dog drink out of. If possible remove any standing water from your yard and try to minimize your pet’s exposure to animals that you are not familiar with. Another easy way to prevent some of the most common strands of leptospirosis is to vaccinate. Although vaccinating may not prevent all strands it can reduce the austerity of the disease.
Spring is most known for its new growth. After our cold Oregon winters the site of blooming flowers is typically a signal of hope for slightly warmer weather. However some of the new growth presents hazardous to our animals. Upon ingestion animals can develop diarrhea, vomiting and hyper salivation. Certain plants can even cause kidney/liver failure, respiratory distress and death. The severity of the reaction varies significantly depending on what is ingested. Some of the most common toxic plants include lilies, azalea/rhododendrons, foxglove, tulips, daffodils and crocus. Visit The Pet Poison Helpline for a more detailed list of plants to be weary of and if you feel your animal has ingested a toxic plant call your veterinarian right away (https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/).
It is frightening to think that something so beautiful could be the source of such harm but that is why it is vital to know which plants cause problems. Avoiding pernicious plants is the most effortless way to reduce consumption but we realize that is not always practical. Our recommendation is to keep your pet on a leash when you are in an unfamiliar area. If you have plants in your home try finding a high place or a hanging basket that your pet can not access.
Those beautiful flowers can bring unwanted slimy pests and no one wants hole in their plants. The pests are usually repelled with your garden variety bait which presents as yet another threat to our companion animals. Toxicities in dogs seem to be more common than in cats and is provoked when the dog licks or eats the deterrent. The most routinely used ingredient in baits is called metaldehyde and consumption can cause a plethora of problems. Any dose of metaldehyde 2 mg/kg or greater in dogs warrants decontamination (ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [APCC]. An animal can experience rapid breathing, seizures, hyper sensitivity and fever. All these symptoms would require the attention of a veterinarian.
Similar to reducing the consumption of plants one of the simplest ways to avoid slug and snail bait is to keep your pet on a leash and be aware of your surroundings. Additionally a safer alternative to metaldehyde is iron phosphate. Unfortunately Iron phosphate is not as effective as the former. Keeping your animal busy with a toy can distract them enough to prevent them from ingesting things they are not supposed to.
In conclusion keeping your animals happy and healthy is one of our top priorities. By springing in to action and taking preventative measures you can have an enjoyable season without urgent trips to your veterinarian.
What Is Dog Flu? (Article from AKC website)
Dog flu, or canine influenza virus, is an infectious respiratory disease caused by an influenza A virus, similar to the viral strains that cause influenza in people. There are two known strains of dog flu found in the United States:
The H3N8 strain actually originated in horses. The virus jumped from horses to dogs, becoming a canine influenza virus around 2004, when the first outbreaks affected racing Greyhounds at a track in Florida.
H3N2, on the other hand, originated in Asia, where scientists believe it jumped from birds to dogs. H3N2 is the virus responsible for the 2015 and 2016 outbreaks of canine influenza in the Midwest and continues to spread throughout the United States.
How Is Canine Influenza Spread?
Like human forms of influenza, dog flu is airborne. Respiratory secretions escape into the environment in the form of coughing, barking, and sneezing, where they are then inhaled by a new canine host. The dog flu also spreads through contaminated objects and environments, like water bowls, collars, and kennel surfaces, or through contact with people who have had direct contact with an infected dog.
Crowded areas like kennels, grooming parlors, day care centers, and dog parks are breeding grounds for diseases like canine influenza. The close proximity of the dogs means that a barking, coughing, or sneezing dog can easily infect canines around him. This is made more dangerous by the fact that dogs are most contagious during the incubation period before they start exhibiting symptoms.
How Long Are Dogs Infected With Dog Flu Contagious?
The incubation period of canine influenza is approximately 2-to-4 days from initial exposure to the dog flu virus. Viral shedding starts to decrease after the fourth day, but dogs with H3N8 remain contagious for up to 10 days after exposure, and dogs with H3N2 remain contagious for up to 26 days. Most vets recommend isolating dogs with H3N2 for at least 21 days to reduce the risk of transmission.
Almost all dogs that come into contact with the disease will contract it, but not all dogs that become infected show symptoms of the virus. About 20-25 percent of dogs infected are asymptomatic, but these dogs can still spread the disease. If one of your canine companions catches the flu, but the other seems unaffected, remember that he could still have the virus. Talk to your vet about quarantine procedures for all dogs in your household.
Symptoms of Dog Flu
So, how do you know if your pup has dog flu? There are several symptoms all owners should be aware of. Dog flu cases range from mild to severe and, unlike human influenzas, are not seasonal. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms year-round:
- Coughing (both moist and dry)
- Nasal discharge
- Purulent nasal discharge
- Runny eyes
- Difficulty breathing
Dog flu symptoms resemble kennel cough symptoms, which is also an illness you should talk to your veterinarian about as soon as you notice symptoms.
Most cases of dog flu are mild, but severe cases do occur. In those instances, dogs develop pneumonia, difficulty breathing, and a high fever. Luckily, the mortality rate is relatively low, with less than 10 percent of dog flu cases resulting in fatalities.
Treating Dog Flu
The canine influenza virus requires the attention of a veterinarian. In some states, vets are required to report cases of canine influenza to the government to help monitor the spread of the disease.
There is no cure for dog flu. Treatment is supportive, and your veterinarian can advise you on the best ways to keep your dog comfortable during his illness and recovery. Some dogs may require supportive care, such as fluids, to aid their recovery, as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce fevers. Your vet will help you come up with a nutritional plan and may prescribe antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections.
Your vet will also inform you about appropriate quarantine procedures to prevent the spread of dog flu, depending on the strain of the virus your dog contracts, and can give you information about disinfectant solutions to use in your home to help kill the virus.
Call your vet ahead of time to let her know that your dog is showing symptoms of a respiratory infection. Both kennel cough and dog flu are highly contagious, and your vet may request that you keep your dog outside until your appointment time to prevent the risk of transmission to other patients in the waiting room.
Preventing Dog Flu
The best way to prevent your dog from contracting dog flu is to keep him away from public places or kennels with recently reported cases. If you come into contact with a dog that you suspect has dog flu or has recently been exposed to it, wash your hands, arms, and clothing before touching your own dog. This will reduce the risk of transmission from you to your dog.
There are vaccines available for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains of canine influenza. Your vet may recommend the vaccine based on your lifestyle. For instance, if you live in an area with a high incidence of dog flu or if your dog regularly spends time in kennels or travels to shows around the country, then he could be at an increased risk of contracting canine influenza and your vet may recommend the vaccine as a precaution.
Pet’s are such an important part of our lives. Losing a loved pet can be an emotional roller coaster. A client recently contacted me about the tremendous struggles that he had after his own pet had passed. He struggled to talk with other family members and didn’t know what to do. He looked through our web site for resources and went on to find more resources that he shared with us. I’ve included our links and links that he found at the bottom of this page.
Sometimes I think of the movie Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins and Deborah Winger because it involved losing a loved one. The movie is based on the true story of the author CS Lewis and his poet wife, Joy Gresham. It is a story about how joyful, meaningful, wonderful, and fulfilling love can be. By the end of the story, Joy Gresham dies of cancer and CS Lewis is left coping with such a tremendous loss. It’s been some time since I’ve watched it, but it left a big impression on me because there seemed to be a comforting message. Hopefully my interpretation is somewhat correct. What Anthony Hopkins (as CS Lewis, but with piercing blue eyes) says, is that the loss of a loved one hurts because there was so much ‘good’ there. I’m sure I’m not doing the film justice, but in other words; During the time you spend with a loved one, you are creating an emotional stockpile of ‘goodness’. It’s deep and rich, it is something more than just yourself, it’s lots of love and shared experiences. When that is lost, it is very hard. Its hard exactly because you had so much ‘good’. It wouldn’t hurt if you hadn’t been so fortunate as to have all those experiences, moments, and love.
I don’t know if I’ve captured the meaning that I want to convey, but in our own family we have had to cope with the loss of loved pets. It leaves a deep ‘hole’ in our hearts for a time and it is hard to imagine moving forward, but time marches on – we want to honor our lost loved one and never forget them. We try to focus on the things that we’ve been thankful for during the pet’s life. More than anything, I think we want to remember the joy/comfort/love that we shared with them. Hopefully remembering those parts will remind and inspire us to know that joy, comfort, and love will be attainable again. To savor it when it comes our way and to share it with others when possible.
It is important to say that we have tremendous compassion for our patients and clients but we are not able to evaluate human mental health issues and do not provide mental health counseling.
These are veterinary school websites providing pet loss support
These are some additional links:
Coping with the Death of a Pet – Understanding Pet Loss Grief
Pet Memorials at Home: A Guide to Logistics and Legalities for Memorializing Your Pets
9 Loving Ideas to Honor a Beloved Pet That Has Passed Away
Helping a Child Cope — the Death of a Pet
Pet Grieving: How Pets Mourn the Loss of a Companion
How Long After the Death of My Dog Should I Wait to Get Another Dog?
RABIES! We are not joking, it is HERE!
Truthfully, it has been here all along. Nothing has changed, except that we’ve become more aware of it. We love Bats, they are an important part of our ecosystem and I love that they eat Mosquitoes. BUT, a certain percentage of Bats do have Rabies. 10% of Bats that are tested, are positive for Rabies. That does NOT mean that 10% of the Bat population has Rabies, it means that 10% of the Bats THAT ARE TESTED are positive. (usually no one would test a Bat unless something seemed unusual, for example = Bats are not usually out in the day and if someone found a sickly one on the ground they might carefully catch it and have it tested)
We had first hand experience with a Rabid Cat recently. It was an indoor and outdoor cat that we believe came into contact with a Rabid bat. When they tested it for Rabies, they were able to identify that it had a strain of Rabies that is found in Bats. (There are other strains found in Foxes, Raccoons, etc – that would be new to our area).
The sad part is that this cat had to be euthanized. The owner had a second cat from the same household and had the difficult choice of either putting that cat into isolation for an extended time or euthanasia. Due to limited resources, the owner had to have the second cat euthanized.
The owner brought the first cat to us because it was just acting abnormal. In our exam, it was evident that the cat had neurological abnormalities. We hospitalized it for lab work and further monitoring. Unfortunately, the cat bit one of our technicians. It wasn’t a typical grouchy/ reactive bite. This cat went from being fairly calm to suddenly very aggressively attacking and tenaciously hanging on with it’s fangs and all 4 claws. It was genuinely scary! Because our technician was bitten, and because the cat had never been vaccinated for Rabies – – we had to report the bite, have our technician get Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections, euthanize the cat, and have the cat tested for Rabies.
Cat’s testing positive for Rabies are very rare in Oregon, so we thought that the testing was just a formality. But the lab got back to us quickly and alerted us that the test was positive. We were very glad that our technician had received Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections. One other team member and the owner of the cat had questionable scratches, so to be on the safe side, they went through Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections too.
Fortunately, all the humans involved have fully recovered. Sadly, the two cats had to be euthanized. We are relaying this event because we are adamant that your pet have its Rabies vaccine updated. It is very sad to see the pet’s have to go through illness and end up euthanized, but there is also a very real and very scary risk to humans as well.
Again, we cherish that Bats are an important part of our ecosystem – but a certain percentage do have Rabies. Once those Bats are affected by Rabies, they become neurologic and sickly – becoming easy prey for roaming cats or dogs. Cats especially cannot resist a mouse sized creature moving around on the ground and any cat “worth its weight” is going to attack (or play) with that bat. At that point, they can contract Rabies. Best to prevent Rabies in your Cat (or Dog), by vaccinating. The vaccines are not ‘benign’, there is always a chance of reaction, etc – but it is rare. Protecting your pet by keeping their Rabies vaccine up to date is a priority.
We do many dental cleanings and surgical procedures that require anesthesia. This article is written to help you (as the pet owner) have a better understanding about the whole process. We want you to feel comfortable with our procedures. The following simply goes through our steps so that you know what to expect.
1) Hold your pet off of food as of 9 PM the night before; water is fine.
2) Come in between 7:30 and 8:00 AM on the day of the scheduled procedure.
3) When you come in, a technician will go over a checklist with you. It is an important step because we are making sure of what you want done. In some instances we are doing a dental, removing a growth, and placing a microchip. We simply want to make sure we are “on the same page” and have the same expectations.
4) During the checklist procedure we will also go over an estimate of the cost for the procedure. Payment for the procedure is required at pickup.
5) We will also get some phone numbers with which we can reach you. These are important in case we need to contact you, usually just to ask a question or give an update.
6) During the checklist procedure we will also go over a series of questions;
- Do you want us to perform pre-anesthetic bloodwork? Or have you already had it done recently? Pets over 7 are required to have bloodwork as a safety precaution prior to anesthesia. In pets under 7 we recommend bloodwork, but don’t require it.
- Has your cat previously been tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus? If not, we recommend doing that as well.
- Has your pet ever had seizures? If so, we need to know in order to appropriately modify the anesthetics used.
- Is your pet on any medications? Again, if so, we need to know so that we can modify the anesthetics used.
- Do you want a microchip placed? This can actually be done at any time, but is most convenient while a pet is anesthetized.
6) The final thing on our check-in procedure is your signature giving your consent for us to perform the procedure, acknowledging that you understand risk factors with the procedure and the potential for complications.
After the initial check in procedure we will set up a comfy spot for your pet. If we are performing pre-anesthetic bloodwork, that is done first. Then we will give a sedative to help them relax and smooth the transition into general anesthesia. Once we are ready, we will administer a short acting injectable anesthesia, and once their level of anesthesia is appropriate, we will intubate your pet and maintain them on inhalant anesthesia. During the procedure they will have anesthetic monitors on them as well as be monitored by a technician. Typically, the doctor will call you around lunch time to give you an update.
After the procedure is done a technician continues to monitor them until they are extubated and stable. The pet then stays with us until we feel they are stable and alert enough to go home.
The typical procedure when you come to pick up your pet is that you’ll come in and let the receptionist know you are ready to pick up your pet; they will assist you in settling your bill and then a technician will talk you through some go-home instructions.
Pets are often groggy after they go home. They may also feel disoriented and need reassurance. In some cases they are painful; we will send pain medication home with you and that can be administered as needed.
Please don’t hesitate to ask us questions. We want to communicate and educate as much as possible.